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Motiva Port Arthur, Crude Expansion Project

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Charles Randall 10 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #3223

    Joshua Lege

    I have found out that the cuts at the CEP (Crude Expansion Project) in Port Arthur Motiva, has now gone deeper than first reported.  Massive amounts of contractors have been laid off, the project has been scaled way back, due to being way over budget.  It seems that the Main contractor company has gone way over budget and with the downturn in the economy the Motiva/Shell is slashing everything.  The new plan is to do one unit at a time instead of all the units at once.  My new concern and others who live in the community are that without all the contractors many of the businesses and hotels that were built to service the expansion may close.
    Im heading down there in the next week or so, but should get more reports before then.  As my contact told me many times, its gone from bad to terrible in just a week or so.  

  • #6332

    Charles Randall

    I think some of the cutback in contractors would have happened anyway – given the large amount of work going on at three refineries during the same kind of time frames. A lot of work that needed to be sequential on the units was jammed together because of availability & cost of manpower but regardless of having same manhours on schedule you just cannot throw a lot more people working same hours and expect the work to be as efficient.
    When Valero cancled its coker project and delayed/canceled some of the other expansion work – it worked out to a 30% reduction in manpower that was causing some of this log-jam and right now that seems to be on parity with the global overall +500 Oil industry projects right now <See post below on Construction 30% cuts>.
    Being able to go unit by unit will help the cost a great deal & allow more work to be done without a full shutdown which will help with the profitability for the company. And while the number of contractors may be smaller they are going to be staying for longer periods of time. And when demand (& overtime cost) on contractors is reduced by these levels it usually results in other projects moving thier projects forward. <ie Total Pt Arthur that has been off in 2011 time frame at end of other 2 projects>. 
    I expect to see some of the funds from canceled projects to go toward funding the next round of consolidation / mergers in oil patch. Rumor already has ExxonMobil on prowl & looking at Petrobras for JV’s.
    Now here is article I mentioned:

    Business Examiner by Steve Dunkelberger Jan. 12, 2009
    Construction companies face more layoffs in 2009

    An estimated two-thirds of the nation’s non-residential construction companies are planning to cut their payrolls, according to new employment and business forecast figures released by the Associated General Contractors of America. All told, those layoffs are forecast to result in a 30 percent decline in the number of people working on construction projects.
    “Unless the business climate changes significantly and soon, the construction sector will continue to experience the kind of devastating job losses and crippling declines in business activity that will undermine efforts to end the recession,” Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer said.

    The forecast results, which are based on a survey conducted by the construction association late in 2008, found no relief in sight for construction companies that already have been among the hardest hit by the economic slowdown. Many construction companies experienced significant slowdowns beginning late last year, resulting in a 10 percent decline in the number of construction workers since 2006, Sandherr noted.
    The forecast did find, however, that planned investments in infrastructure projects as part of the stimulus package is likely to dramatically improve the employment and business outlook for the year. For example, 85 percent of non-residential construction companies would either cancel layoffs or add new employees if states embarked on stimulus-funded infrastructure projects.
    “With a stimulus, construction companies can get more people to work and more money into the economy in a way that will immediately boost our economy,” Sandherr said.  “Without a stimulus, construction companies will cut jobs, slash spending and continue to be among the hardest hit sectors within our economy.”

    Posted in BE Daily, Building, Law and Legislation, Manufacturing/Trade/Transportation, Workforce by Steve Dunkelberger

  • #6314


    That sounds great!!! Really. But the matter goes beyond cost savings. The truth of the matter is the Joint Venture (Bechtel and Jacobs) can not account for over a billion dollars.
    I must say that the project was a failure from the beginning. I was there from July 2008, to January 2009. DiCarlo has alot of blame for this.

  • #6313

    Joshua Lege

    I had heard that there was some budget issues, but i just couldnt believe it ran that high when my contact told me that number.  I took a wait and see position from posting that figure, the scale and insanity of what has occured down there is just mind numbing…..
    They are doing a turn around right now as well as some CEP work right now.
    Some believe that they burned through more money in waste than they used to do the true expainsion.

  • #6311


    i know it may sound like hind sight, but the truth is i brought some of this up in august 2008. i have some project managemnet experience, and was very quick to see how this project was being managed. i told co-workers how this project was going to be run into the ground by the end of the year. it is not to say i was right all along, but just to point out that if the problems were obvious since that time, why didn’t anyone do anything about it.
    i have also said that this project will end up in a courtroom in beaumont, texas. i received a message today, how they may stop the project for 6 weeks. i could not believe it. What??? no !!!!
    in august when i told my co-workers to start looking for a job somewhere else, i told them that the project would eventually be put on hold. they asked when will that happen? i told them when all the footings, the storm water line, and fire water lines are underground.
    you know i was just a lonely journeyman on this project, and i came to see all these things first hand. i worked with a bunch of great guys. some took my advise and others did not. it is funny how they call me and ask how it was i knew so much. by the way, i posted the other message about the joint venture not being able to account for over a billion dollars.
    I NEED A NAME!!!!
    i am tired of all this backroom hand shaking, politicking bull. heads have to roll. bechtel and jacobs do the right thing and give the money back.  fire all those jerks, losers, and punks who like to take what is not theirs.
    this would make great court tv. i would watch it like i did the oj trial.

  • #6310

    Joshua Lege

    Are you saying that because they ran the lines incorrectly that the project is on hold, or that after they put in those lines the project would be put on hold…?
    Its amazing to me that it has so quickly stopped, but i do believe it would have just kept on going if the money was still flowing from high oil prices and high demand. I am starting to believe that any of these updates or builds are just trouble from the start. 
    It sounds like you know the area, i worked at the BASF Naptha Cracker project, in Port Arthur, and that job was a headache, i loved the story that they started the unit up but was unable to get flow in various places in the unit.  They then had to use robots with cameras on them to run the lines.  They found blinds welded into the lines, with various words on them, one i that i liked said FU Zachary, lol, funny but not funny when you are trying to start up a multi-million dollar unit.  Anyway, im always amazed at the way these projects go and the firms that build them.. They have great workers but seem to abuse them at every turn.

  • #6303


    man-u, the project will go on hold shortly. it is just mind boogling how no one did any cost value analysis. what happened to schedule, budget, and cost variances. where was the team at? forget about risk management. what problem, i don’t see a problem. i was doing cost value analysis yesterday for this project and it just blew me away. do you know that as of january 1, 2009, the project is about 15 % complete in my estimation, may be a little less, but 15 is a goood number. this is an $8 Billion project. close to $2 billion unaccounted for. not sure how much actual costs are. Hey lets throw in a billion and half. Where are we at, close to $3 billion, if not more. Yes, must of the work done thus far is civil. the lowest payed of all the crafts. for the record, i am a civil guy- carpenter. this reminds of those equations we would get in college and right away i would tell the professor not enough information given, therefore, the problem can not be solved. so we have about 38% of the budget gone, but we have about 15% of the work done. also, we must understand that the project has been going on for over 15 months. man-u this is giving me a headache.
    okay, here is the deal. motiva should have just taken the s&b and kbr bid. and they would not be in this mess. or the mess the joint venture got them in.
    hey man-u, loved the fu zachery story. when things like that happen and someone gets caught, they should prosecute them and blackball then from the petro-chemical industry.   

  • #6299


    You know another untold story in the golden triangle area is the LNG and LPG plants they built. After they built them the profits never developed.
    Also you might know, that the tank space expainsion they needed to run the CEP i believe has been completed or close to it.  I wonder if they will actually use this tank space for hedging.  Might be a good time to fill up those huge tanks for big profits later. Just a thought.

  • #6298


    guest, you are correct. the tanks are very close to complete if not completed. we would drive by them all the time, when we would get shuttled to our work area. one thing is certain, gas prices are going up, yet crude is about $41 a barrel. do not be surprised if those tanks are full already. gas should be at about $2.25 this summer, maybe $2.35. that is reasonable, fair. if the price of crude remains where it is at. refineries can and will make money with these prices.
    the energy business is very speculative. it takes some of these projects along time to recoup cost and start making money. i am not surprised if indeed that is the case with the lng or lpg projects in the golden triangle. however, i see the lng market very good market in the coming years.  
    motiva cep clearly understands this. moreover, they understand that costs are getting very expensive. as an example, what cost $100 just ten years ago, cost $166 now. i am specifically talking about refinery equipment. you get the point.
    still, there are just a hand full of firms that can manufacture these modules, vessels, pumps, etc. , what happens is someone has to wait. especially when the expansions are all occuring around the same time. oh yeah, prices start going up because of this. supply and demand, baby.
    i just hope that motiva straightens everything out. i would not mind going back in 2010.
    i need to get on my tools. every project it seems is waiting. it reminds me of , oh the place you’ll go, by dr. seuss. everyone is just waiting. waiting to fly a kite, waiting for the bus to pass by, waiting to catch a fish, waiting and waiting. but the waiting place is not for someone as bright and talented as you. yep, a lonely journeyman carpenter. i will smoke me a cohiba today.

  • #6297


    man-u, have not heard from you lately. are you getting ready for fulham or what.
    you know i have alot of cep stories. i will try and share one daily with all of you. when i got to the project, i was blown away. i mean the magnitude. i would just look around in amazement. i was going to be a part of history. the first refinery in the us in the last 30 odd years or so. i mean there were cranes eveywhere. i said what the hell is going on here. pile driving while the project is going on. not a very good idea. i take my tool belt off and go and talk to some surveyors. i told them what i thought. i told them there would be shifting and movement in some of the footing. i was told that it would be okay where we were at. but, i was concerned where we were at, because piling were not be driven. i was was concern with sbu, h-block, and ncu., because most of the pilie driving was occuring in those area. a couple of months later, one of the surveyors came to me and told me, i was right. there was indeed shifting and movement, up to 3 inches in some areas. this was brought up to the joint ventures attention. yet, they dismissed. what started happening is all three areas, including d and e pipe rack, was there was deviations in the coordinates or benchmarks. this is funny, the joint venture was blaming all the surveyors in the project for this. they figured the surveyors had calculated wrong or somehow made mistakes. the engineers were saying there could not be shifting or movement because of the pile driving. what are you kidding me. i bet if motiva asked these engineers for their diploma it would probably be written with crayons. so what does this all mean, i am not sure i am just a carpenter. but i can bet some of the structure may be difficult to set. or let me guess, when the surveyors start shooting elavations or projections they may be off. i am just saying the integrity of the concrete, structure, or pipe might have be jeoperdized.
    so in november, jv wanted all the surveying teams on the project to document their information. they wanted the teams to take all the information of poured concrete down. to see if the piling were indeed causing some of this shifting and movement in the footings.
    can you imagine what is going here. there were thousands of pilings driven next to poured concrete. bring me a real structure engineer to assess damages.
    tomorrow- the scaffolding they brought in from china.

  • #6296


    i want to know who this verna rutherford parrot is. are you kidding me? are you freaking kidding me? it seems last week this parrot went out to the media and told them them a bunch of hogwash. what do you mean parrot that you do not know how many people have been layed off. what do you mean, the contractors have that information. hey parrot, how about over 2500 people have lost their jobs since november. hey parrot, stop trying to put a spin on this story. no wonder motiva has gotten screwed over all this. they have a bunch of fools running around like parrots. give this woman a cracker and tell her to shut up.
    cost evaluations. do you know what you are saying parrot. do you have a clue what you are saying. what you are trying to say is, GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY!!!!!

  • #6295

    Joshua Lege

    that was me that talked about the LNG plants and the tank storage, dont know why it put me as guest… oh well it was super early in the morning maybe i didnt sign in.
    Yeah this project was not planned and executed properly.
    Its sad, but kinda ok by me seeing i took a job at a diffrent refinery, who is now in  chapter 11, over motiva.  Im sure for years to come motiva or the place i am working at will be having headaches due to piss poor planning!

  • #6278


    wow, last i heard motiva is starting to look like a ghost town.
    i just have one question, is all the scaffolding that came in from china out of motiva? i have a right to know. because everyone has the right to know that it was defective. jacobs and bechtel knew, or should have known that the scaffolding was defective. i want to know if the scaffolding was tested before it arrived at motiva. i am willing to bet it was not. what does this mean, the joint venture and motiva put people in harms way. if my recollection serves me correctly, someone was hurt because of the scaffolding. the next day, after the incident, scaffolding was coming down fast. still the joint venture and motiva were still holding fast to the notion that there was nothing wrong with the scaffolding. really, so how is it the the pins on the scaffolding would fly off when struck by 28oz hammers. explain that to me?
    the scaffolding contractor, safway, was run out.  safway is an embarresment. they are the so called experts. they were there for over 4 or 5 months, and never bothered closely inspecting the scaffolding. they should change their name to harmsway. i am so serious.
    by the way, also inspect the pipe rack closely, after all it came in from china also. next time buy american.

  • #6277


    Hi guys, thank you for your insights into the construction situation from first hand experience. If there’s a safety issue, then it’s good for the rest of us to know about it.  manchesterutd81, you are registered and that adds to your credibility. 

    Guest, since you are anonymous, some people may wonder what your motivation is.  You should consider registering. The forum is available for all of us to share concerns and knowledge.  I don’t want you to take this the wrong way or stop posting, but some of the posts where you are sharing stories about what you did here and there, are not particularly meaningful to the rest of the world or those of us who do not even know you by name.  (Others have brought this to my attention too)

    So kindly keep sharing the stuff that the coker community needs to know.  We’re in this together.  Let’s all be safe!

  • #6276


    thank you admin.
    look in my opinion, the pipe rack structure should be looked at with scrutiny. the structure in b, d, and e racks is questionable in my opinion. now, i am very suspicious of the specifications of the iron. someone should look into it asap before piping is hung.  

  • #6274


    I try to keep up on the Golden Triangle PetroChemical Industry Info, I’m from there, went to Lamar University, and Lamar Institute of Technolgy.  I have at least one credible friend that works at every one of the plants there in the area.   Most went to LIT with me.  Its amazing how we get dispursed in industry after college. I am one of a few who left the area and got hired on with a company outside the Beaumont-Port Arthur area.  I just wish this area supported the oil industry as much as most in the Golden Triangle community do.  I guess not enough dads and family members work at these facilitys here in Houston to invoke ownership or care when a contract comes up or flares are burning.  The only thing i hear when these facilitys flare is, how bad it is for the enviroment… not I guess mom or dad is having a bad day.  It kills me to see the opportunity to build or finish building motiva has maybe been squandered for the time being.

  • #6273

    Joshua Lege

    I try to keep up on the Golden Triangle PetroChemical Industry Info, I’m from there, went to Lamar University, and Lamar Institute of Technolgy.  I have at least one credible friend that works at every one of the plants there in the area.   Most went to LIT with me.  Its amazing how we get dispursed in industry after college. I am one of a few who left the area and got hired on with a company outside the Beaumont-Port Arthur area.  I just wish this area supported the oil industry as much as most in the Golden Triangle community do.  I guess not enough dads and family members work at these facilitys here in Houston to invoke ownership or care when a contract comes up or flares are burning.  The only thing i hear when these facilitys flare is, how bad it is for the enviroment… not I guess mom or dad is having a bad day.  It kills me to see the opportunity to build or finish building motiva has maybe been squandered for the time being.

  • #6267

    Charles Randall

    Manchesterutd81 – any chance you & your buddy can take this offline and talk it over at the pub? The discussion thread here is getting a long way off the original point or topic of the thread & hard to follow.
    Like the Admin folks pointed out this needs to have a news, safety or key learning that folks can apply and not errode into a “chat box” .  This goes to a lot of people who have to read & delete it when it waste their time, and when the threads get this long and banal new folks lose interest in our site.
    So do us a favor share items like first couple comments but take the rest offline or save it to share over beer at pub.

  • #6134


    Dear Manchester,
    Did you learn anything new about the Motiva project?  Are there any units down currently for maintenance?  Its amazing how Marathon keeps pressing on at Garyville, yet this project seems so snakebit.
    Regards, Petroboy37

  • #6116


    That would be interesting to follow. Look forward to your observations….I am at  if you ever want to compare notes.
    Did you see that Citgo lost the little FCC at Corpus overnight?  We dont have a timeline yet on restart for that unit.

  • #6115


    I would be very interested in following what you learn….that project has become a real enigma.  Look forward to your follow up.
    Be well,

  • #6034


    Just heard that Motiva Port Arthur is gearing up again. Can anyone confirm ?

  • #6033

    Joshua Lege

    It seems that they arent so much gearing up as they are trying to complete what they had started… My new information is that they are going to put all large vessels in place.  The large cranes they have rented will be utilized to put them in place due to the long wait they would have to incur to get them back at the facility.  I also was informed that the cost of the laydown yards that Motiva has rented is costing them tons. And they have tons of them all over the place, more than I previously thought.  Also it seems they have stopped hiring new operators and the operators that were just recently hired are being used in strange ways, or soon will be used as maintance helpers very soon by the companys needs or a union negotiated agreement.  And Motiva is still searching for answers of where all the money that was in the contractors hands went.  But it should be known that the large towers and vessels will be erected but piping will be done at a later date not known at this time.  But the look from the highway or  casual observer seems like they are banging away. This cant be farther from the truth… it was told to me its taking everything they have to do what they can and control costs while having the ability to finish if and when funding real funding is approved again…. Now funding a small amount at that was approved and recieved but it was to keep the project moving forward on the erection of towers and not on piping or other structures.
    Hope this brings a few of us up to speed on the project as it stands right now

  • #5491



  • #4853


    I am concerned about the incident involving the PCL Construction Rigger who was laid off by PCL after he reported an intoxicated PCL superviser at the project. Prior to this the rigger was injured in a crane incident which was shown not to be his fault. Motiva claimed an investigation..but released no results. With all the alleged concern for safety being touted at the could this happen? Motiva needs to be investigated prior to start up..rumors constantly fly concerning coverups when it comes to safety on the project..and the way the rigger was treated only adds fuel to the fire. Where is OSHA?

  • #4635


    I have my istc and my TWIC card for motiva and im currently contracted through Echo, how do i go about getting on out there.

  • #4616


    The Motiva CEP Project has turned into such a farce. I am also concerned about the PCL Construction rigger who was severely injured at the project. Another posting on this website mentions that Motiva did not fairly investigate the accident and do anything to help the rigger. That is absolutely true. The rigger’s name was Chase Ford and both PCL and Motiva turned their backs on him after the accident. I can tell you that Chase was the one who spoke up for Veterans jobs on the project and several foreigners on the project DID NOT like it…MOTIVA LLC needs to be investigated by the federal government for things that have happened there. Poor quality control…that is the cause of the latest shutdown. That is the truth.

  • #4591


    I ralely appreciate free, succinct, reliable data like this.

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